I'm Not Even Supposed to be Here Today...

200 Feet south of the Quick Stop Grocery Store in Leonardo, NJ lies the Henry Hudson Bike Trail. Perfect for those who'd rather take a leisurely walk alone, rather than listen to the clerks of the store discuss plot details in Star Wars movies.

In its railroad days, the line was owned through most of its life by the Central Railroad of New Jersey, but started as several different rights of way. The Freehold & New York Railroad ran between Freehold and Lockport, near present-day Union Beach, NJ. This operation was then taken over by the C of NJ. (Right of way)

The C of NJ then took over operations on Freehold and Atlantic Highlands Railroad, extending the line east to Atlantic Highlands, NJ, becoming the New York & Atlantic Highlands branch of the C of NJ.

Image: Gary Everhart, RR Pictures Archive, 7/11/1954, "Built by Baldwin in 1913, this 4-6-0 camelback appears to be the central power of a railfan trip. No date or location were given for the photo but with the help of Randy Kotuby (see comment below), the date & location have been identified. Locomotive specifics - L-7as, 69" drivers, 210 psi boiler pressure, 23x28" cylinders, engine weight of 225,600 lb, tractive effort of 38,318 lb."

Here's an 1878 timetable, from the F&NY Railroad days.

Conrail inherited the line, and continued freight service, but passenger operations ended much earlier. The line ended service in the 1983, but was never officially abandoned, as New Jersey Transit took over ownership of the route, and considered it for the Middlesex–Ocean–Monmouth railroad proposal.

The route is not currently under consideration for that line, and remains under lease to Monmouth County as the Henry Hudson Trail, but remains "railbanked", where reactivation of railroad operations is a possibility if the need arises.

But for now, I assure you, it's open.


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